Nestle knows nutrition

by Eric Schroeder
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Nestle gluten-free California Pizza Kitchen pizza Buitoni pasta
Nestle said it reformulated 1,058 food products and pet products during 2014 to consider nutrition or consumer preference, including reduced sodium, sugar, trans fat and artificial colors and flavors, as well as increased essential nutrients.

VEVEY, Switzerland — In its effort to become a nutrition, health-and-wellness leader, Vevey-based Nestle S.A. has set a clear course to go beyond the reduction of salt, sugar and fat. During 2014, the company made great strides in that effort.

In its Creating Shared Value report released Oct. 7, Nestle said it reformulated 1,058 food products and pet products during 2014 to consider nutrition or consumer preference, including reduced sodium, sugar, trans fat and artificial colors and flavors, as well as increased essential nutrients.

Nestle said it was able to bring all of its children’s products in line with the Nestle Nutrition Foundation (NNF) criteria for sodium. The NNF criteria are based on nutrition science and public health dietary recommendations. The company also worked to reduce sodium in its Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine meals, cutting the average mg of sodium in those brands to 800 mg and 600 mg, respectively, during 2014. Additionally, Nestle has committed to reducing the salt content by an average of 10 percent from 2012 levels in all relevant products that don’t meet the NNF criteria for salt.

In 2014, Nestle said 96 percent of its children’s products were compliant with the NNF guidelines for sugar, and the company said it was on track to reach 100 percent compliance by the end of 2015. Additionally, Nestle has committed to reducing the sugar in its relevant products that don’t meet the NNF criteria by an average of 10 percent between 2014 and 2016.

Nestle cited good progress in providing portion guidance on 100 percent of its children’s and family products by 2015, and further committed to providing portion guidance on 100 percent of relevant food and beverage products by 2017. The company also said it has an ongoing commitment to encourage healthy eating patterns and consumption of nutrient-rich foods.

Nestle Stouffer brand Fit Kitchen frozen entree
New Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen entrees offer 25 or more grams of protein per serving along with complex carbohydrates and vegetables.

“We know whole grains, fruits and vegetables are vital for a healthy diet,” the company noted in the report. “The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables, but most Americans aren’t eating enough of either. At Nestle, we’re adding more fruits and vegetables and other high-quality ingredients to make healthier choices easier and more delicious.”

As examples, Nestle mentioned the introduction of a new line of pastas under the Buitoni brand that the company makes “by folding real vegetables, such as sweet red pepper and spinach, right into the dough,” and the new Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen line that offers 25 or more grams of protein per serving along with complex carbohydrates and vegetables.

The company’s commitment to deliver clear nutrition and ingredient information on all labels is on track. According to the report, Nestle placed Facts Up Front nutrition information on 93 percent of Nestle USA food and beverage labels during 2014. By 2017, the company expects to have the labeling on all relevant products. Also by 2017, Nestle said it plans to lead an industry effort by implementing a SmartLabel initiative to provide full Product Information Transparency enabling consumers to make healthy choices.

One-hundred percent of Nestle’s products for infants, toddlers and preschoolers were free of artificial colors in 2014. By 2016, Nestle said it plans to build on this effort by expanding the number of organic, non-bioengineered and gluten-free choices across its most popular categories and brands. Efforts under way include the launch of a gluten-free crispy thin crust pizza under the California Pizza Kitchen brand and the introduction of gluten-free and non-bioengineered meal options in the Lean Cuisine brand.

Also during 2014, Nestle strengthened its policy on trans fat reduction and has committed to removing trans fat originating from partially hydrogenated oils (phos) from all of its food by the end of 2016. Additionally, the company said by 2016 it will remove trans fat originating from phos as functional ingredients from all its foods and beverages, ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s 2018 deadlines.

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